Updated December 3, 2021 - 11:38 am
If the crowds last week at Southern Nevada’s retail centers such as Las Vegas North Premium Outlets are any indication, this year’s holiday shopping season could set a record in the state.
The Retail Association of Nevada said Thursday the state’s total holiday retail sales should climb to a whopping $5.5 billion this season, a 10 percent year-over-year increase. It counts the holiday shopping season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 and excludes auto sales, restaurants and gasoline.
The association said rising personal incomes, thanks to federal stimulus packages and growing wages, along with higher savings rates, have likely spurred shoppers to add to their carts.
But its report also revealed a larger trend — shoppers are starting earlier.
“Consumers turned out in a big way over Thanksgiving weekend, but unlike in the past, Black Friday is no longer the unofficial start to the holiday season,” said RAN Senior Vice President Bryan Wachter in a statement. “Thanksgiving weekend is now more like halftime than kickoff, with consumers beginning their shopping weeks and months in advance to find the best deals.”
The evidence is in the numbers with RAN reporting sales over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend that includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday declining for the second year, despite the same estimated number of Nevadans shopping in-store and online.
It estimated more than 1.7 million Nevadans spent a total of $516.3 million on gifts, decorations and other merchandise over the long holiday shopping weekend. In 2020, the association reported the same number of shoppers spent a total of $545.7 million, down from $638.9 million in 2019.
Dampened retail sales were also seen nationally.
The National Retail Federation reported Monday that 179.8 million people shopped over Thanksgiving weekend, down 3.5 percent from 2020. The trade association said weekend shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases, which is less than last year’s average spend of $311.75.
The retail federation also credited the lower spend to consumers getting a head start on their holiday purchases, especially since many retailers encouraged shoppers to start early as supply chain snarls are causing some to have less inventory or, worse, sell out of items.
As retailers rolled out deals in October and early November, the retail federation found nearly half of shoppers surveyed, or 49 percent, said they took advantage of the early promotions before Thanksgiving this year.
“Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.
But the tradition of heading to a store over the Thanksgiving weekend remained strong as retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, according to the federation. About 104.9 million shoppers visited stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020.
It said the top purchases over the Thanksgiving shopping weekend included apparel (purchased by 51 percent), toys (32 percent), gift cards (28 percent), books and video games (27 percent) and electronics (24 percent).
Meanwhile, data from Adobe Digital Insights found U.S. online sales over the five-day shopping weekend reached $33.9 billion, a slight year-over-year decrease of 1.4 percent. But when looking at total online sales from Nov. 1 to Nov. 29, it found an increase of 11.9 percent when compared with sales in 2020, reaching $109.8 billion.
The Nevada association reported online sales in the state should also see a boost this holiday season, reaching more than $1.1 billion. It said nonstore retail sales, which includes online retailers, is already at an all-time high with double-digit growth. In the 12 months through September of this year, online sales have totaled nearly $5.3 billion, a nearly 30 percent year-over-year increase.